Sweden: Increasing number of employees covered by individual agreements
In the last 10 years, social partners in Sweden's white-collar sectors have increasingly concluded collective agreements, allowing greater flexibility for wages to be fixed at local level and by individual workers.
The National Mediation Office predicts in its annual report that the share of employees covered by collective agreements which allow local and individual wage-setting will increase from 18% to 23% in 2015 (in Swedish, 3.1 MB PDF). It suggests this will pose a challenge for the social partners.
Since the Industry Agreement (Industriavtalet) was passed in 1998, the manufacturing industry has set the norm for wage increases because it is the sector exposed to the highest international competition. However, there have been conflicting views among unions, and among employers, on the desirability of using the manufacturing sector to set the norm, and for increased wage-setting at local level.
Those wanting a looser connection to the norm argue it can be affected by the nature of certain businesses, by wage policies or a gender bias.